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Online Services Volunteer

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Providing immediate and confidential crisis support (chat and email) using agency procedures and policies, the Robert’s Model of Crisis Intervention, and in consultation with the Contact Centre Coordinators.
  • Providing information and referrals to Distress Centre programs and community organizations.
  • Addressing risk factors including, but not limited to, suicide, child safety, self-harm, and domestic violence.
    • Final decisions regarding these risk factors are not placed on the volunteers as staff will be making these decisions. However, it is the volunteer’s duty to notify a member of the Distress Centre staff when there is a person who is at risk according to Distress Centre policies.
  • Handling multiple contacts to ensure individuals are safe and that everyone is heard.
  • Documenting all contacts per Distress Centre procedures.

Qualifications & Requirements

  • Excellent command of communication and interpersonal skills including: active listening, empathy, and patience
  • Ability to be level-headed in a crisis
  • Strong ability to work both independently and within team environments
  • Demonstrates self-awareness in areas such as: coping, stress-management and emotions
  • Ability to receive developmental feedback
  • Non-judgmental, accepting of diverse values and beliefs, and open-minded to callers with a variety of concerns
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Willing and able to follow policies and procedures
  • Must be over 18 years of age (Under 18? Volunteer with ConnecTeen instead!)

Note: Due to the nature of the Online Services Volunteer position, we ask applicants who have experienced a personal trauma/life event in the past 12 months to wait one year prior to applying. Also, a criminal record and child welfare check are to be conducted on every new volunteer with their consent at no cost to themselves.

Time Requirements

There is an expected commitment of 24 shifts in the first 6 months, minimum of 4 shifts per month, and shifts are 5 hours in length. Shift start times are the following: 3pm, 5pm, or 5:30pm Monday to Friday; 12pm, 3pm, 5pm, or 5:30pm on weekends and statutory holidays. Volunteers set their own schedules based on availability or can correspond with the Volunteer Scheduling Coordinator. There will be occasions where, due to unforeseen circumstances, the volunteer may need to stay past the formal shift end time. Credit hours will be given in accordance with the time spent. Inability to maintain and be consistent in completing this requirement will result in dismissal.

Orientation & Training

Our volunteers do not need prior knowledge or experience in crisis support. Distress Centre offers comprehensive training to all new volunteers in topics including, but not limited to: crisis intervention, addictions, relationships, and domestic violence. Distress Centre’s initial training is 60 hours, with opportunities for additional developmental monthly training.

Note: Alternative arrangements for training dates cannot be accommodated. Volunteers-in-training are expected to attend all sessions.

Training Schedule

2020 Training

PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19 pandemic our training schedule is being adapted to an online format. We are currently accepting applications. We will discuss training months in the phone interview with each of you.


  • All shifts take place at the agency location: Suite 500, 999 8th Street SW.
  • Distress Centre is wheelchair accessible
  • Parking is also provided for volunteers on shift once they have begun their commitment.

What You Can Expect

  • Receive regular feedback and development
  • Paired with a Distress Centre Calgary mentor to provide support and guidance
  • Obtain training and support in effectively assessing a de-escalating crisis and high stress situations
  • Make tangible differences in others’ lives and feel connected to the community
  • Develop your communication and social skills and gain perspectives, or self-awareness
  • Be a part of a supportive team and create lasting friendships
  • Receive a reference letter upon completion of your first volunteer commitment

What We Can Expect

  • Volunteers to maintain communication with the agency
  • Volunteers adhere to their commitment


Still have some questions? Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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